Bexhill on Sea
Oct. 20th, 1918
Yours received this P.M. and I can tell you was some glad to get it. It’s the first I have had that has bee written since I left France. Well Allie, I am sure glad to hear John or the crowd he was with got a moose amongst then. I hope you go along with him next time and you will never wonder why I was crazy about the woods. I have had some exciting times since I joined the Army but nothing that can come up to a good wet hungry hunting trip. We get the wet hungry part of it here but that is as far as it goes. Oh yes got a box from you the middle of last week. Just finished the last of the cake tonight. Boxes last longer here than they used to in France for there are only three of us in the room and I can tell you it’s some different from opening a box among half a hundred hungry soldiers in the line or billets. Well Allie you said you supposed I would not get any boxes that were sent to France, but I reckon I must have got all that has been sent besides I don’t chew much here. Here it’s safe enough to light a match. Here I thankful today I tell you my tongue has been out many a time for a drag at my old pipe when I have been laying out in a shell hole in old Avion within a few yards of our friend Fritz and had no Napoleon on me. Poor old Avion we have had some hard times there we used to call it the moving city for it never looked the same two days hand running for Fritz was always changing the remains of the old housed around with his Rum Jars. I used to have hard times locating my post sometimes for one night a house might be facing the post the next night it might be gone or turned around some other way. Well Allie will tell you about one nights work on that old outpost line as I have no news to write about. It was last Dec. I think. My Plat. Commander a sport I can tell you with lots of sand (too much to suit me in fact). Well this night I speak of we had orders to put on a little barrage of rifle and machine gun fire along with a couple of stoke batteries. Well we were to start the show at 9:30 to try and catch some of his working parties. Well we did not think much of the job for we knew what to expect when we did open. Well anyway just before the time I went around to the boxes and told them to crawl up close to Fritzey line if he had come back at us. And I went back to a bit of trench where we had one of our M.G.’s, that’s where the officer and I were to stay, well it’s hard work waiting for zero hour at the best of times and this night I had a hunch we were going to get Hell. Anyhow we started the ball rolling and in less than two minutes he was back at us. There were 6 of the boys the officer and myself on the post. Well we only got nearly started when there was no trench left. One shell struck under the gun, wounded the gunners and killed the Sgt. The officer and myself was untouched except for chunks of brick and wood. Well we started to take those chaps out of the trench for we knew it was the only chance and that a slim one. Anyway we made the grade without losing any more of the m and landed safe at the dressing station. Well we were getting uneasy about the boys out front for we could see the shells landing along our outpost line. So soon as it quieted down a little we started out to find them. Will we found five of the posts O.K., no one hurt. But No. 1 post could not be found so I started out to find then. I knew they must have gone towards Heney’s line to get rid of the shells so away I sailed. Our post lines and the German line was separated by the road and some old buildings and around them weeds nearly up to your waist. I was sneaking along when I thot’ I heard someone moving so down I squats and sure enough I could see someone coming towards me, but he had spotted me also. But there was only one of him and one of me so, says I to myself, “we will see which one takes home the meat.” I think we worked around there for most an hour when Fritz shot up a flare under our noses and we could see what we looked like. Well it was my lost Cpl. I had been trying to nab all the time and he thot’ I must be a Fritz who had go left behind for as soon as our barrage started they backed up to their main line and the Cpl. Knew they had gone so he moved his men up close to our barrage for safety and was just out hunting up a new shell hole for his post when he spied me. So he thinks to himself that’s a poor devil that's been left behind. I will just nab him. But I can tell you there was a good chance of an accident to one of us if that flare had not gone up when it did. But we got off easy that night. Only one killed and five wounded. Salseman and I used to laugh about that night (that’s the Officer) and wonder if we ran, flew or walked. But it’s a good thing we got out of that bit of trench for it was nothing but one big hellhole next morning. It took three men two hours to find the old gun and pans. I think as likely we made good time at least. Well Ollie, what I am telling you here does not cover a nights for it does not take long for things to happen. Don’t think this happens every night for it don’t. Some nights we used to go out exploring just to pass the time away.
This is some letter. Reckon I better quit but there is no news to write only war news and I know it is good but reckon it will be many moons yet before it is over.
Well I may as well tell you am here for my commission if I can make good but it’s a hard roe to hoe but hope will make it. Tell Mrs. A.A. will try and get a chance to go down & see Blanche before I go back to France. There is some of the boys down there I want to see so will kill two birds with one stone. Tell Veinott’s that the boys of the 26th here give Herb a great name. They say he was scared of nothing. And for God sake don’t put any my letters in paper. Oh yes, had a letter from the Coy. Commander telling me I had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for the Amiens show. Well it means $100 and a few days leave for me. And it’s the next thing to V.C. so guess I am in luck. Also the Lieut. who took the poor old Capt.’s place that trip got the V.C. and he earned it you bet.
Love to all